Denying reports that the American President Lines was subjected to Suez Canal blockade threats, a high State Department official said today that “we have been assured by the Company that at no time did the Egyptian authorities threaten to close the Suez Canal to an American President Lines ship if it included Haifa in its itinerary.”
Douglas MacArthur, 2nd, Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, made the comments in a letter to Senators Jacob K. Javits, New York Republican, and Harrison Williams, New Jersey Democrat. The two Senators co-sponsored an anti-boycott amendment to the Export Control Act calling on the Executive Department to rally American companies in resistance against the Arab boycott. They wrote the State Department recently to ask a report on action taken in connection with the deletion of Haifa from a cruise itinerary of the S. S. President Roosevelt because of Arab boycott pressure.
Mr. MacArthur replied: “Since last December, officials of the American President Lines have consulted with Department officials on several occasions. We have been assured by the company that at no time did the Egyptian authorities threaten to close the Suez Canal to an American President Lines ship if it included Haifa in its itinerary. An earlier statement by an American President Lines spokesman to the effect that such a threat was received was based upon a misinterpretation of correspondence received from the American President Lines agent in Alexandria.”
The official said “the Department of State is endeavoring to ascertain all the facts relating to this matter and to be of assistance to the American President Lines.” He promised a more complete report when the inquiry is completed.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.